Stellar career thrusts fencer into hall of fame

(June 14, 2007) — Nat Goodhartz has been breaking down gender barriers in the sport of fencing for almost 45 years.

Goodhartz, the head coach of the Rochester Fencing Club, will become the first female fencing coach inducted into the United States Fencing Association’s Hall of Fame on June 30 in Miami.

Goodhartz, 61, started the women’s fencing team as a student at Ohio State University in 1963 and has coached both the U.S. National men’s and women’s foil teams.

“There’s never been a woman selected who was solely honored for her coaching skills, which makes her career even more special,” said Andy Shaw, who nominated Goodhartz and is chairman of the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame.

Goodhartz, a Hilton resident, has been the head coach at the Rochester Fencing Club for at least 25 years. Goodhartz has trained nine national champions and, along with Buckie Leach, worked with Iris Zimmermann when she won the World Championships in 1995. She also started a fencing team at SUNY Brockport.

“She’s raised the profile of female coaches in the U.S.,” said Rochester Fencing Club owner Sue Clinton. “Fencing tends to be a sport where females aren’t given the same respect as males in coaching, and if they do coach, they will usually coach females. Nat’s broken a lot of barriers for female coaches all over the country.”

Goodhartz is currently in Cuba training Zimmerman and Hannah Thompson for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.